All these pundits who say Mike Green should win the Norris need look no further than Game 7 earlier tonight in Washington. He takes an awful penalty in the attacking zone to lead to Montreal's first goal on the powerplay and then misplays a Hal "Skills" Gill dump that leads to Montreal's second goal. Mike Green does not deserve the Norris. Sacrilege: even Hal Gill is more deserving. There, I said it.
Speaking of the pundits, the popular theory from the talking heads was that the bottom of the East was worthless and would be bounced in the first round. And out in the West, it was wide open. What happened? #4, #6, #7, and #8 advance in the East and the only "upset" according to seeding in the West went to the favored Red Wings as a #5. This is why the NHL playoffs are the pinnacle of sport.
Can you believe the Bruins will have home ice advantage for the 2nd round? Here's the Schedule:
Game 1: Saturday, May 1 @ 12:30 PM EST (Garden)
Game 2: Monday, May 3 @ 7 PM EST (Garden)
Game 3: Wednesday, May 5 @ 7 PM EST (Philly)
Game 4: Friday, May 7 @ 7 PM EST (Philly)
Game 5: Monday, May 10 @ 7 PM EST (Garden - if necessary)
Game 6: Wednesday, May 12 @ TBD (Philly - if necessary)
Game 7: Friday, May 14 @ 7 PM EST (Garden - if necessary)
Here's a look at how the Bruins match up with the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins are the favorites: home ice, better goaltending, deeper up front due to injury, Bruins will not be complacent again like last year.
Brian Boucher played great in Round 1, but the edge still goes to Tuukka. There is little else to say about this.
The Flyers are banged up. Jeff Carter will almost certainly not play in the series. Simon Gagne will be available late in the series at best. Ian LaPerriere is out for the rest of the season with a brain contusion. These injuries up front drastically reduce the Flyers scoring depth and it means that Ference and McQuaid will rarely be exposed to top-shelf offensive talent. Chara will likely see a lot of Mike Richards and there should be some great battles between the two captains throughout the series. The wildcard for the Flyers could be that hairy mess of a human being Scott Hartnell. The guy had a disappointing season, but he can put the puck in the net and the Flyers will need him to step up with Gagne and Carter out. But as far as scoring threats go, it gets pretty weak once you get past Richards, Giroux, Briere and then Pronger and Timonen on the back end. It reminds you of Buffalo's lack of scoring depth, but the Flyers don't have the all-world Ryan Miller on the other end.
The Flyers had the #3 PP unit in the league during the regular season and carried it with them in the playoffs (27.6% against Devils). The Bruins will need to stay hot on the PK.
Will the Bruins be guilty of complacency this year? No way. Last year taught them that they can't take anything for granted and they won't get caught off guard by a team who "wants it" more.
On the Bruins end of things, all hands are now on deck up front. Based on practice today (which doesn't necessarily mean anything), Blake Wheeler is thankfully going to be removed from the top 9 forwards. Vladdy skated on Savard's wing today. This means the Bruins should be trotting out three lines that are a threat just like Chiarelli drew it up at the beginning of the regular season. They certainly didn't show us anything during the regular season, but that's ancient history now.
The Morale Officer might just get his line brawl in this series. Dan Carcillo and Hartnell are going to take runs at Tuukka and the Bruins are going to respond in kind. These are two big teams and it's going to be a physical battle. The Flyers are in for a different brand of hockey than they faced against the light-hitting Devils. The Bruins landed 221 hits in 6 games (36.8 hpg) in round 1. The Devils were credited with just 112 in 5 games (22.4 hpg). Even though the hits stat is enigmatic at best, this is a vast difference and the Flyers will feel it.
It was nice being an underdog. Hopefully the fans don't get cocky and expect to win and start sitting on their hands. The Garden needs to be at the same level it was at in Round 1.